Lemon Loaf with Thyme, Yogurt & Olive Oil
Updated: Jun 19
The Palestinian cuisine relies heavily on what the land produces. The food is simple and seasonal. Fall begins with the olive harvest and the production of the most delicious olive oil. And right around the corner in the heart of winter is the beloved citrus season.
This lemon and olive oil cake is tribute to winters in Palestine, and to me longing for the home where I grew up.
Bright and refreshing lemons often come from Jaffa or Jericho, and fruity olive oil comes from the hills of Palestine. Creamy yogurt and earthy mountain thyme are then mixed together to make this delicious and moist loaf.
When I left Palestine as a young student, I left part of my soul there. I left pieces of my childhood. I left them with the olive trees and the blossoming lemons that crowned my grandfather's garden. They still remain standing with pride in our home in Al Ram, and I like to think they are waiting for me to go home again.
Until then it’s a lemon loaf to remember winters in Palestine, to honor the olive and lemon trees that my grandfather planted, and to always hold my beloved home close to my heart.
Lemon Loaf with Thyme, Yogurt and Olive Oil
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Makes 1 loaf
About 9 servings (based on 1 inch slices)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp packed fresh thyme leaves picked and roughly chopped. I used lemon thyme in this recipe but if you can’t find it go ahead and use regular thyme.
1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
1 tsp vanilla or if you have lemon extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
Zest of two lemons
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 tbsp milk or heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a standard 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Or a 6 inch cake pan. You could also make these in the muffin tins but the baking time will change.
Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the parchment In the pan and make sure you grease the sides so loaf doesn’t stick.
Sift (using a sifter or a fine sieve, discarding any lumps) together the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, fresh thyme leaves, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.
Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then slowly fold in the olive oil into the batter, making sure it's all well incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick or a bamboo skewers placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool completely before you add the glaze.
For the glaze:
Whisk all the ingredients together until it’s silky and smooth. Drizzle all over the cooled lemon loaf. The Glaze will set as it cools.
You can serve with a dollop of yogurt sweetened with a bit of honey and garnish with thyme sprig.